Hayley Hoover
Cordova | Commercial fisherman

“My relationship with salmon is intrinsically tied to my relationship with my father. As my fishing career grows, so does my relationship with him. Since the time I was small my summers have been filled with memories of salmon fishing. It's a family tradition that gives me a strong sense of self and place.”

Growing up in a multi-generational commercial fishing family, Hayley Hoover knew that salmon kept a roof over her head and clothes on her back; salmon provided the currency by which her family built their lives. Throughout her teenage years, Hoover drift gill netted for salmon in Prince William Sound with her dad and then spent the next two summers as a salmon gillnet and seine deck hand in Prince William Sound.  Fishing in Prince William Sound inspired a curiosity of the environment that led to a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Forestry from Warren Wilson College.

After college, Hoover held jobs as an Education Outreach Specialist with the Prince William Sound Science Center and as a Forestry Crew Technician while continuing to work as a deckhand in the summers.  In 2014, she acquired an Area E Salmon Drift Gillnet Permit and purchased the Obsidian, the fishing vessel she grew up on.  She has been running her own gillnet operation ever since. 


Hoover was appointed to the Cordova City Council where she is serving out Councilmen Chesier’s term in seat E, and was asked to join the Descendants Issue Committee by members of the Eyak Corporation to address issues regarding descendants’ rights.  She is a member of Cordova District Fishermen United (CDFU) and the Copper River Marketing Association; she is a certified B Sawyer by the US Forest Service, is trained in wild-land fire fighting, and is a certified Open Water diver.


As a Native Alaskan woman, Hoover feels there is no better time to raise her voice on the issues that surround the lifeblood of the state, salmon.   She would like to see that more women have the option to join the commercial fleet of fishermen and envisions a program for young girls that provides a salmon-based science curriculum and training in boat safety, net mending and hanging techniques, fishing regulations, business strategies and basic electrical and mechanical skills.